Friday 15 December 2017

Film studio will transform area, says Sheridan

Jim Sheridan Photo: Tony Gavin
Jim Sheridan Photo: Tony Gavin
Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

A Hollywood-style film studio planned for the Dublin docklands would catapult Ireland into a powerhouse of the international movie business, says acclaimed film maker Jim Sheridan.

And the multi-million Euro project would also create a huge number of spin-off jobs, directly and indirectly, linked to film making.

Dublin Bay Studios, an €80m complex proposed for the docklands, aims to attract international productions worth €400m to €500m a year to Ireland.

Among the backers are Alan Moloney, who produced the Oscar-nominated movie Brooklyn, and James Morris, the founder of TV3 and Windmill Lane Pictures.

They will find out later this month whether they've been given the green light for the ambitious project.

Dublin City Council is due to publish a draft of its planning scheme for the strategic development zone (SDZ) for Poolbeg West, where the studios will be based.

Bono has lobbied for the studio plan, while actors Liam Neeson and Cillian Murphy are also on board as strong supporters of the project.

Now, six-time Academy Award nominee Jim Sheridan has added his voice of approval to the venture, saying it is "totally necessary" to bring film production to the next level in Ireland.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, he said the global nature of the movie business already made this country an attractive location from a financial perspective.

But the establishment of Dublin Bay Studios would help bring big-budget productions and huge financial resources to these shores.

"Movie production is international - and it's cheaper for many of them to do it here.

"Minister Heather Humphreys knows it's necessary. Our existing facilities are full up.

"She came out with a creative initiative recently which was very good, and I think she could be very helpful if this gets going.

"I'd be very confident in the ability of the two people involved, Alan Moloney and James Morris, to make it a huge success.

"James has been there since TV3 and Windmill Lane days, and Alan, one of the best producers in the world, was behind Brooklyn and many other great movies."

The venture already has the backing of CAA, the largest talent agency in Hollywood.

James Morris says the ambition is to create Ireland's largest full-service film, TV and digital content production studio.

He claims the 20-acre project, which has an initial investment of €110 million, would create 1,800 direct jobs and a further 1,800 indirectly.

It would also provide a "nationwide" benefit, as it would serve as a catalyst for on-location filming throughout Ireland.

"I think we have a really good idea and I think our time is now. I can't think of an industry more likely to create sustainable, inner-city employment. At a local level, we are also confident that it works," Mr Morris said.

"This is the only model that will enable us to compete with - and equal - the top studios in the world, and put us on the map internationally."

With 180,000sq ft of sound stages, it would be the largest full-service studios in Ireland.

Sunday Independent

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